Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today, We Remember

I don't really seem to have it in me today to explain what this day means to me. I am tired and sad and nostalgic. My mom told me that a boy a few years younger than me from my church at home died this morning. He had been battling cancer for months, and while we all knew he couldn't hold out much longer and I am glad his pain is over, it seems almost cruel to mar this day with another tragedy. 

I was in sixth grade in 2001. Just on the cusp of teenage angst, but holding onto my childhood as it seeped away, cupping the last of it like water in my hands. I was zipping my backpack, waiting for the horn to signal the carpool mom outside, when my dad walked in the house shouting, "The towers have been hit." I was too young to know what in the world he was talking about, to understand how the burning buildings on the screen would change me. But that was the moment where the last vestiges of my childhood slipped away and I realized we aren't as safe as we assume. The world is a scary place outside the circle of my mom's arms. That was my tipping point, when I knew I was growing up. I had to.

As I have reflected on 9/11 over the years, my reaction is always the same. A lump forms in my throat, tears sting my eyes, and my chest feels hollow and heavy simultaneously. But it took on new meaning when I moved to Arlington. I drive past the Pentagon almost daily. I tunneled under it on the metro today. I see the massive building, the swarms of people who work there, and I think... it's too much.

We can't live every day focused on the reality that we live in a cruel world. I read somewhere once that humans need to live embracing a certain amount of denial or we would constantly be paralyzed with the fear of the dangers around us. But today, we remember. I remember, and I pray for the safety of my family, and those who risk their lives to protect us, and I thank God for this nation that I am so proud of, so grateful to be a part of. I hope you carry a prayer in your heart today, too.

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